China Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin (Photo courtesy of China MOFA)

MANILA – The Chinese government has underscored the importance of the Philippines in its "neighborhood diplomacy" and vowed to maintain its friendly policy with the next administration.

The statement, delivered by Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin on June 13, comes less than three weeks before the inauguration of President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. who earlier described Beijing as the country's "strongest partner" in pandemic recovery.

"China always sees the Philippines as a priority in its neighborhood diplomacy. Our friendly policy toward the Philippines is consistent and steady," he said.

"We commend the Philippines for pursuing an independent foreign policy and look forward to working together with the new government led by incoming President Marcos to carry forward our friendship and cooperation, usher in a brighter future for bilateral ties to the benefit of both countries and peoples and safeguard the sound momentum for peace and development in the region," he added.

At present, Beijing and Manila's government-to-government cooperation spans beyond pandemic response, from disaster relief, construction of highways and bridges to agricultural cooperation, among others.

Based on the latest data from the Chinese Embassy in Manila, at least 16 projects in total have been completed, with more than 20 under implementation or in progress.

The embassy earlier said China is ready to strengthen further engagement in infrastructure, agriculture, energy, education, and other fields; and partner for more government-to-government cooperation projects in the future. (PNA)